Shanghai Young Bakers Sees Success in Class of 2011
Baking program provides a platform for 18 underprivileged youth a skill to succeed in life
SHANGHAI, China. July 18, 2011 – Shanghai Young Bakers (www.shanghaiyoungbakers.com), a non-profit organization aimed at improving the lives of underprivileged youth in China through a one-year training in French bakery, announced that all 18 students from the 2010 cohort have graduated from the organization’s third enrolment. All of them are finalizing their work contract with international hotels such as Marriott, Radisson Hotel, Grand Mercure, as well as with bakeries, House of Flour and Bastiaan Bakery. SYB is a joint program of the Shanghai Charity Foundation and the Chi Heng Foundation.
The graduation ceremony, led by Shanghai French Consul, Mr. Emmanuel Lenain, was held at Pizza Marzano, Xintiadi, Shanghai. In conjunction with the graduation ceremony, SYB organized a career fair where graduates were provided the opportunity to meet potential employers. SYB also worked with a human resource consultant to provide job interview and resume writing training. Aside from Mr. Lenain, Xu Benliang from the Shanghai Charity Foundation also presented the graduates their diplomas. As part of the training program, the students had previously interned at various hotels and bakeries.
In China, “mantao” still represents more than 80 percent of the bread served in China Mr Etienne Maillard of Lesaffre, one of SYB’s corporate sponsors said at his presentation at the ceremony.
“European bread has only been introduced recently, in the late 1980s and 1990s. While there is currently no lack of demand for Western baked goods in China, logistics is the key reason why it has been and still is difficult to transport bread out of the tier-1 cities to the rest of the country. It is then imperative to have pastry schools all over China that can equip their students with both Chinese and Western style baking skills to meet this growing demand. Organizations such as SYB help fill this gap,” Maillard continued.
Ms Zhu 朱韬, from “My sweets” 麦甜 bakery that began operations in Hangzhou on July 15th also echoed this sentiment. “It is not easy to find skilled professionals in the bakery industry in China especially outside of the big cities. SYB is interesting as it’s not just a baking school, but one that is able to marry this need and yet, help provide a platform to train those who need a skill to succeed in life. This certainly makes the program a lot more meaningful than just a school,” said Zhu.
Since most of the SYB graduates are from outside of Shanghai, many of them had expressed that they would like to move closer to home one day. Out of the 18 graduates, seven of them are doing so. However, it is the opportunities that the big cities can offer that still attract the rest to stay on.
“Working in a big city like Shanghai allows me to gain some good experience,” said Zhao Xue Yan, valedictorian of the SYB 2011 class. “However, my wish is to return to my native province, Henan, where I’d like to open my own bakery in Zhengzhou,” said Zhao.
“For now, I am excited to work in Shanghai,” said Zhao. My internship experience with Grand Mercure has so far been very positive. At the hotel, I was responsible for the entire baking process – from preparing the dough, shaping the bread, to baking and presenting them to the clients. It has been a very enriching experience that appeals to me a lot. Moreover, the clients at the hotel are from the business world and professionals. Working there has provided me an opportunity to talk to them and learn what they do,” she continued.
“In a fast growing country like China, where the urban-rural gap continues to widen, there is a need to create a fair platform for the young especially those in need to get access to opportunities just like their peers in the city,” said Mr. Dennis Chang, restaurant manager, Pizza Marzano. “For those of us who live in the cities, it is important to care about the underprivileged and to treat them as equals to make them feel they belong.”
Since the inception of SYB in 2008, 53 students have graduated from this program. The program was founded in 2008, by a group of volunteers who were inspired by similar projects that offer underprivileged youth an opportunity to succeed in life through skills training.
Currently, three graduates from the 2009 enrolment are continuing their studies in France. Upon their return to Shanghai, these three students will continue to work with SYB to help train future recipients of this program. This is to ensure program sustainability since it is not easy to find skilled bakery chefs in China to teach in a program such as SYB.
After the graduation ceremony, guests enjoyed the pizzas provided by Pizza Marzano. As part of its on-going fund-raising efforts, SYB also sold croissants and brioches made by the graduates to the guests.
“The students’ here tonight haven’t had the easiest life, however I would like to tell them: thanks to Shanghai Young Bakers, you can change your destiny!” said Xu Benliang, director of the Shanghai Charity Foundation.
中国，上海，2011年7月18日 – 海上青焙坊（www.shanghaiyoungbakers.com）是一个旨在提供一年传统法式烘培技能的培训来改善中国弱势青年生活的非营利机构，它宣布18个第三批的学员全部顺利毕业。同时，这18个学生都已经成功受聘于诸如万豪国际酒店、宏泉丽笙酒店和宝隆美爵酒店等各大国际酒店以及穀屋和跋氏面包咖啡屋等面包坊。海上青焙坊是一个由上海慈善基金会和智行基金会一起联合举办的项目。